A new rule by the State Department of Ecology is open for public comment. The new rule would provide efficient and consistent standards and permit requirements to address the production, distribution and encourage beneficial uses of reclaimed water. Dennis McDonald is the Reclaimed Water Rural Coordinator with the Department of Ecology talks about how much water might be saved under this rule.
MCDONALD: Currently right now we’re making about 8% of the wastewater discharge into reclaimed water. It varies anywhere between 400 to 500 million gallons per day of discharge of wastewater in the state.
Reclaimed water is not potable, meaning that it can’t be used for drinking water. McDonald says there are some downsides.
MCDONALD: We don’t know how much we have to wait for people to implement building these kinds of facilities so it replaces whatever amount we’re able to produce from wastewater treatment plants that would save us from utilizing potable water instead.
It will take time to implement.
MCDONALD: There is funding available through Ecology, the competitive funding that’s available for upgrades and building of wastewater treatment plants is also available to build the expanded reclaimed water production. But then there’s a need for also distribution, the purple pipe which is totally separate from the potable water system and then end users would also be required to have infrastructure that’s separate from the potable water systems.
And that’s Washington Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.